So details of 'study tours' by the soon to retire Senator Crossin and Simon Crean (each accompanied by spouse) are out there, and costs will eventually appear on the website at the Department of Finance which pays for these and other entitlements of members and senators.
The Prime Minister when asked, said the rules regarding travel may need "sharpening up."
Hmm. Wonder whether he noticed that the transparency and accountability standard for payments to, for or on behalf of parliamentarians by the parliamentary departments has just been dulled to indecipherable?
Just a few weeks ago, when Mr Rudd was on the backbench the Government and Opposition combined to legislate a blanket exemption for those departments from the Freedom of Information Act. Not just payments to or for parliamentarians are beyond reach of FOI. So too are all documents concerning the operation of the three departments which receive a budget allocation of around $170 million.
Then there are support costs for office holders such as the Speaker and President of the Senate. The brief FOI window that opened on the parliament revealed former speaker Peter Slipper spent $1248 on coat and tails and $8500 on catering, among other necessities.
As to transparency about payments to parliamentarians by the state parliaments, don't ask.